Jack M. Sell’s Black Christmas is a spoof of holiday slashers that was never finished. The scenes that were filmed make up a trailer that appears during Sell’s Outtakes, his attempt at a Groove Tube type comedy. This Black Christmas involves a killer Kris Kringle stalking a group of young friends partying in an apartment. Murderous highlights include a slit throat, guy impaled on door with kitchen knife, and Santa Claus stabbed in the ass by the ugliest Final Girl in the history of slasherdom.
Despite grainy footage and primitive special effects, there are a few scenes that would have helped Sell’s Black Christmas stand out. One features Santa dragging a bloody bag of body parts across the snow. It’s a simple scene but gives a grisly twist on the iconic image of Santa and his bag of gifts for good children. What would have been the film’s ending involves the Final Girl holding a Christmas present from Santa. Suddenly, a hand busts through the box and throttles the girl. Final Girl jumps up in bed revealing the previous scene to be a nightmare sequence. Then the real terror sets in as Final Girl discovers all of the nurses and doctors in her hospital room are dressed as Santa Claus.
While the voice over narration goes a bit over board at times, it still manages to capture some of the magic of the golden age of slasher trailers. The film’s banned status is played up along with the promise of gratuitous sex and plenty of bloody violence. It’s hard to tell when Sell started shooting his Black Christmas but I’d guess 1981 or 1982 going by the bad fashions and references to other slashers. Even if principle shooting had finished it’s doubtful Bob Clark’s lawyers would’ve allowed the film to hit theaters with this title.
Other than the Black Christmas trailer there is little reason to recommend a complete viewing of Outtakes to slasher fans. Most of the sketches lack anything resembling humor or a punchline. Only the framing sequences involving Forrest Tucker look professionally shot, the rest of the film is too dark and too grainy. Sell began filming scenes for Outtakes in 1983. Around 1985 Sell got enough backing to obtain real film equipment and a slumming name star ( Tucker). Finally, in 1987, Outtakes hit video shelves with little fanfare. Ironically, Jack M. Sell’s Black Christmas wasn’t shocking by then. Other slashers had already made a killing in rentals with the psycho Santa concept. One wonders what might have happened to the slasher genre if Sell had finished his Black Christmas and released it before the Silent Night Deadly Night franchise got started.